Director: David O. Russell
I first read the novel before watching the movie. The novel itself was good; Pat was painted as someone who was clearly obsessed with getting back with his wife, stuff like that. Long story short: the film and the book were different from each other. It was the same situation, but different events, which then lead to different actions. For the first five minutes, I heard myself say 'Oh shit' because it really was different from the book. Some of the characters seem wrong, the events transpiring were different. After I settled into the movie, I started thinking less and less of the novel and more on how it's going to turn out. The tone of both mediums were somewhat different, but the film was able to convey a beautiful story, albeit centered more on the romantic parts, but was able to bring out the tale between two people who are lost, and somewhat found each other.
Pat has just been released from a mental institution after being there for months, with the conditions that he has to see a shrink every week. Pat insists that he's a changed man; he's been reading, getting fit and being nice, in order to get his wife back. At a dinner with a friend, he crosses paths with Tiffany, who has problems of her own. Unknowingly, Pat and Tiffany began spending time together, trying to overcome their problems.
While the movie was clearly about Pat, Lawrence's Tiffany stole the spotlight. I never had doubt that Lawrence wouldn't be able to live the part. She was flawless. Drama seems to be where she is at her best, and the way she brings out her characters, it feels like she has crossed over to her character's life, even if at a young age, she is far from where her character stands. Her actions feel like she knows where her character is coming from. She doesn't fall out from character every step of the way. She really portrayed Tiffany as if she was Tiffany. She also has some of the comic scenes, not to mention the heart breaking ones. I mean, she literally tore apart when she saw Nikki. Flawless. No wonder she's nominated for the role.
When you get a veteran actor, it is always advisable to exhaust his or her role. This is the case with Robert De Niro, who portrays Patrick's father. In the novel, he was cold and often quiet, but De Niro's role was altered to be the speaking voice of all supporting characters. Among the other actors (besides the leads), he was the one who stood out as someone who is trying to have a relationship with Pat. At first he doesn't approve of Tiffany, but when he saw the real effect she had on his son, it was something else. De Niro's character solidified Pat's relationship with his family as he tries to get past the Nikki incident. Special mention to Chris Tucker, who was written to provide comic relief to the drama. The only character I was uncertain about was Dolores (Pat's mom) played by Jackie Weaver. Maybe it's all the Meet the Parents movies that are getting to me, but I imagined her role to be played by Blythe Danner, as Dolores was portrayed to be strong for her son.
Their chemistry was clearly undeniable, providing the realism between the roles they were portraying. David O. Russell was able to put the film together to charm its viewers into falling in love with Pat and Tiffany's story, reeling us slowly in as we experience them being able to lift themselves out of their problems, and to be able to start anew. Silver Linings Playbook is a beautiful and charming film that allows us to see that in life, there is always a silver lining.